Mormon War Letters
written in 1838 by Missouri Militia officers and citizens
These letters were transcribed from microfilm of originals at the Missouri
State Archives. Spelling is unchanged.
12th Sept. 1838
Gov. Lilburn W. Boggs
citizens of the counties of Daviess and Livingston, represent to your honor
that a crisis has come, which we believe requires us, as the legitimate
citizens of Missouri, to call on the Executive of State for protection. For
several weeks past, the Mormons have been making formidable preparations for a
civil war, and one which they are pleased to call a war of extermination. We
presume that your honor is apprised of the attack made on Adam Black, Esq., on
the 8th of August, by the Mormons, and shall not enter into a detail
of it here, but we will apprise your honor that the Mormons have and keep a
lawless armed force stationed in our country, and are constantly throwing out
menaces, threats and challenges to our citizens. Influenced by fearful
apprehensions of danger, we, the people of the above counties, sent an Express
to Richmond last week for arms and ammunition, and on their return with their
load of guns, say, forty-five, several kegs of powder and two hundred pounds of
lead, they were intercepted on Sunday last, in passing through Caldwell county,
by a banditti of those fanatical enthusiasts, made prisoners of, and taken to
Far West, where they, the guard and the above munitions of war, are still held
Sunday last, an armed force of fifty Mormons left their own encampment in this
county, and marched to the territory of Livingston County, for the purpose, as
they said, of removing a considerable amount of property, which was subject to
a lein, held by Mr. James Weldon; they passed into the settlement secretly, and
falling in with a family which they suspected would alarm the settlement, they
violently seized, and made prisoners of the whole family, which consisted of
three men and two ladies, all of whom, with three others of our citizens, we
believe are still held in the custody of those rebels, and deprived of their
country, sir, is in a distressed situation; probably two-thirds of the families
of Daviess County have left, and gone to seek protection among the neighboring
counties, while a few of the old settlers are still here, and are determined
only to surrender their houses with their lives. For about four weeks, we have
been humbly and unceasingly petitioning our neighboring counties for aid, but
we are yet in a helpless and defenceless condition. We, therefore, the people
of the above counties, being well aware that your honor is well acquainted with
the character of those people called Mormons, and believing that our lives, our
liberties, our property and our all, are in the most imminent danger of being
sacrificed by the hands of those imposterous rebels, earnestly call on your
honor for assistance -- assistance we must have, or leave our homes and seek protection
elsewhere. Most of us, sir, emigrated to these frontier counties before there
were any settlements formed; we have had to encounter and have realized nearly
all the difficulties incident to a new country; we have foregone the pleasures
and the advantages of the old and well-settled counties, which we have left in
anticipation of enjoying like blessings in these -- but, alas! Our anticipations are
blasted, and unless we can get rid of those emissaries of the Prince of Darkness
-- we and our families are ruined. We are, sir, your petitioners,
The Citizens of Daviess and Livingston Counties.
Camp near De-witt
7th Octr 1838
To the Citizens of Howard County
This county is the theatre of a civil war, and will soon be one of desolation,
unless the citizens of the adjoining counties lend immediate assistance. The
infatuated Mormons have assembled in large numbers in De Witt, prepared for
war, and are continually pouring in from all quarters where these detestable
The war is commenced; blood has been shed. They shed it. They waylayed and
fired upon a body of the citizens of Carroll County, & wounded some. They
are the aggressors. They have been guilty of high treason, they have violated
the laws and shed the blood of our citizens, and we think this one of the
cases of emergency in which the people ought to take the execution of justice
in their own hands. Speedy action is necessary. The progress of their
imposition, insult and oppression ought to be checked in the beginning. The
people must act together. They must act energetically.
It is now twelve O'Clock at night. The Mormons are lurking round our camp, and
making preparations to attack us before day. Our number is much less than
theirs, and we will have to act on the defensive until we procure more
About two hours ago the Mormons were re-inforced by 62 mounted men well
armed from Far West. They are arriving every night. Two nights ago it is
thought one hundred came to De Witt for the purpose of making war upon the
people of this county. Under such circumstances, you cannot fail to come
forward immediately. Can you not be here by Sunday or Monday at farthest?
Come by fives and tens if you cannot come in companies. Bring all you can.
This is no false excitement or idle rumor, it is the cold reality too real.
We will anticipate you immediately, and shall expect your cooperation and
assistance in expelling the fanatics, who are mostly aliens by birth and
aliens in principle from the country. We must be enemies to the common enemies
of our laws, religion & country.
Your friends & fellow citizens.
P.S. Our guard was just now fired upon by the Mormons. They have become
emboldened by their recent re-inforcements, and we will have to act on the
defensive until assistance arrives.
Larkin K. Woods
Rollo M. Davis
James Jackson Junr
John L. Tomlin
Sidney S. Woods
William L. Banks
Boonville October 9th 1838
To the Commander in Chief
Sir, enclosed you will receive a communication from Genl Parks, which I deem
my duty to forward to Your Excellency. I have required Genl Doniphan with the
troops from Clay, Clinton and the Platte to co-operate with Genl Parks. I
have also instructed Parks to prevent armed Mormons from marching to De Witt,
and also to send back or take into custody all the Mormons from Caldwell
County who may be found in arms in Carroll County. Also to disburse all armed
bands of citizens from other counties found in Carroll.
I have also suggested to Parks to urge it upon the Mormons in Carroll County
to sell out and remove elsewhere, and also to urge the citizens to make the
proposition to buy. I have no doubt but Your Excellency, if you should deem it
your duty to proceed to Carroll County, could restore peace. I would have
forwarded this communication by express, but was informed that you were at
St. Louis; it is therefore sent by mail. If you deem it necessary to proceed
to Carroll County, I would respectfully suggest that it should be done as
quick as possible. I have the honor to be &c.
D. R. Atchison
P. S. If your Excellency should deem it necessary to proceed to Carroll
County, Boonville will be in your route, where it would give me great
pleasure to see your Excellency, at which time I will be prepared to give
all information as to the difficulties between the Mormons and citizens, as
far as it could be obtained.
D. R. Atchison
I, the undersigned Adam C. Woods, a citizen of Howard County, do certify that
on the 6th day of October 1838, in company with Captain Congrave Jackson and
others of Howard County, hearing of the Mormon difficulty at De Witt,
concluded to go up there, and did go to interpose our good offices and make
peace between them and the citizens. When we reached there on last evening we
found under arms in a mile or thereabouts of De Witt, about two hundred
citizens encamped and sentinels out. I did not go into De Witt. I was advised
not to go in, fearing that I would be injured. I was informed and believe the
information to be true, that the Mormons at De Witt are between five and six
hundred, well armed. I remained on last night in the camp of the citizens,
intending on this morning to go in town and endeavor to make peace, but about
midnight the Mormons commenced firing on the sentinels placed out by the
citizens, which was returned. There was occasional firing at a distance until
From the above occurrences we were deterred from making any attempt with the
Mormons for peace, and I left on this day about 10 O'Clock in the morning.
A. C. Woods
Octr 7th 1838
Elk Horn, Ray Co, Mo. 13th Octr 1838.
To His Excellency L. W. Boggs
I avail myself of this opportunity to inform you [of the] present deplorable
condition of our country. I arrived home last night of the 2nd tour of duty
to suppress insurrection, when the first campaign closed on Grand River and
the public was informed that peace was restored. The citizens who livd in
Daviess and the adjoining counties knew and expressed themselves that the
Mormons were determd to drive the citizens from Daviess Co - which the Mormons
have since expressed. The lives of the people of Daviess have been threatend.
Many of them have fled for safety to the adjoining Cos. Whenever we meet a
Mormon he is armed in best manner and continually throwing out his threats.
Next we were ordered to De Witt in Carroll County under Genl H. G. Parks.
When we arrived at Carrollton we were informd that the people of Carroll and
the Mormons, who were mostly Canadians, were assembled in a mile of each
other, ready for battle. We were also told the Mormons of Caldwell were on
their way to De Witt, 100 more expected to pass down that night. I went to
Genl Parks and requested him to permit me to move my company on that road and
prevent their passing, but he refusd and we lay there that day and till
midnight at which time W. C. Williams came to the camp and told us the Mormons
were passing from Caldwell. I paraded my company and marchd to the Mormon
road, leaving Parks in Carrollton (drunk) incapable of knowing what was
going on. The Mormons passed before I reachd the road. The next day Parks
overtook us with the balance of the troops. We moved down near De Witt &
encamped two days without making one effort to disperse either party. I
visited De Witt in company with Parks, Dr Ellis, McGee and several others,
and on the public highway some 1/2 mile from the town we were met by a Mormon
from Far West, who cocked his gun, presented it at me, and commanded us to
stop. This is a common thing with them in this country; the public highways
are guarded. Genl Parks returnd home with his command, leaving over 200
Mormons well armed in Carroll Co, who came from Caldwell after being expressly
orderd by Major Genl Atchison to disperse them at all hazards.
The people of Carroll and the Mormons have made a compromise. The Mormons
are moving West. It is supposed they intend pushing the citizens out of
Daviess. That county is in a state of great agitation, great excitement
prevails here. The Daviess & Livingston Co people, and many from others, are
on their way to Daviess County with one field piece, with the determination
to prevent their settling in that county at all hazards. If there is not some
effective means taken to settle this difficulty, much blood will be spilt
soon. It will require a strong force. Too many of our officers are seeking
popularity with the Mormons, supposing their votes in time will be of some
service to them.
You may rest assurd times grow worse & worse here. The Mormons embody
themselves, keep out guards, and refuse to let any person see their forces.
Had you proceeded on to Daviess County you could easily have convincd
yourself the state of things which are desperate in the extreme. You will no
doubt be calld on. I hope you will take steps to make a final settlement of
this matter. If it is not soon done, our country is ruind.
Your Obt. Servt,
Capt. in the late Volunteers
Daviess Co, Mo.
October 21st 1838
To his Excellency the Governor of
The State of Missouri
Sir: - I deem it my duty, made so not only from the law, as an officer, but
also as an individual, to report and make known to your excellency the
unheard of & unprecedented conduct and high handed proceedings of the Mormons
of this & Caldwell Counties towards the other citizens of this county, being
myself one of the sufferers. On Monday the 15th inst. we learned that the
Mormons were collecting in Far West for the purpose of driving what they term
the mob from this county, by which we understand the citizens that were not
Mormons. And accordingly they have come & their worst apprehensions have been
They have plundered or robbed and burned every house in Gallatin, our county
seat, among the rest our Post Office, have driven almost every individual
from the county, who are now flying before them with their families, many of
whom have been forced out without necessary clothing, their wives and little
children wading in many instances through the snow without a shoe. When the
miserable families are then forced out, their houses are plundered and then
burned. They are making this universal throughout the county. They have
burned for me two houses and, sir, think this not exaggeration, for all is
not told. And for the truth of all and every statement here made, I pledge
the honor of an officer & gentleman.
These facts are made known to you, sir, hoping that your authority will be
used to stop the [blank] of this banditti of Canadian refugees and restore us
to our lost homes.
I neglected to state that among the rest, our County Treasury office has been
also burned. Will only ask in conclusion, can such proceedings be submitted to
in a government of laws? I think not. I must answer my interrogatory no, not
withstanding the political juggling of such men as David R. Atchison & some
others, whose reports & circulations setting the conduct & character of the
Mormons favorably before the community, are believed by the peoples of this
county to be prompted by the hope of interest or emolument.
I am yours, sir, with due regard,
Wm. P. Penniston, Co. G
60th Reg., 2nd Brig., 3rd Div. M.M.
P.S. Since writing the above I have procured the testimony on oath of some
six or eight persons corroborating with my statement, which accompany this.
Wm. P. Penniston
Brigade Head Quarters at Richmond
2nd Brigade, 3rd Division
21st Oct. 1838
Major Genl D. R. Atchison
Sir, I received yours of the 16th inst. from Boonville, which I will let
remain until I see yours. I have now returned from the County of Daviess &
assure you this county is agitated by a deeper & more desperate excitement
than I have yet witnessed. I left the place on Tuesday the 16th inst. with
two companies of mounted men, having directed Col. Dunn to precede me to
Daviess County, where I had good evidence to believe the troops and [blank]
intending to act against Adamondiamon. Intending to cooperate with Genl
Doniphan & the remainder of the troops, I had proceeded to the head of
Crooked River when a severe snow storm overtook us & we were compelled to
abandon the undertaking for the present. The troops were dismissed until
further orders, and the troops under Col. Dunn had been ordered home by Genl.
Doniphan who came as far as Far West, from whence he returned home. I with a
part of my staff proceeded on to Far West, which I reached on Tuesday night,
& learning that the Clay troops had gone home, I determined to proceed to
Daviess & examine the state of the country. On Thursday I proceeded to the
town of Adam in Daviess County, & on the way heard the Mormons had burnt a
storehouse in Gallatin belonging to Jacob Stallins. I sent two men to see &
learn the fact & on their return confirmed the news. I saw at Adam on Diahmon
about 500 Mormons under arms, all well armed, about 200 of them mounted. I
asked them their motive in appearing in arms. There answer was they intended
to defend that place. They had been driven from De Witt & other places, and
here they were determined to stand and die rather than be driven from that
I next visited Millport, & found on my way down the ridge that the inhabitants
had left their houses and all above Pennington's have fled. That county is in
a worse state than at any former period, and I believe that the Mormons are
now the aggressor, as I have seen many depradations which they have committed.
I have certificates of their having taken arms from the citizens of Daviess
forcibly. The excitement in this county is more deep and full of vengeance
than I have yet seen it, & I would not be surprised if some signal act of
vengeance would be taken on these fanatics. Wednesday next is fixed for
a full and general meeting of the citizens of this county to take into
consideration the steps necessary to be taken in this state of affairs.
I do not know what to do. I will remain passive until I hear from you. I do
not believe calling out the militia will avail anything towards restoring
peace, unless they were called out in such force as to fight the Mormons &
drive them from the country. This would satisfy this people, but I cannot
agree to it. I hold myself ready to execute, as far as I can go, any order
from you, and wish you to advise the Commander-in-Chief as to the situation
of the upper country. Perhaps a visit from him would have some effect in
allaying the excitement. I remain your
H. G. Parks, Genl
2nd Brigade, 3rd Div.
Jonathan J. Dryden after being duly sworn deposeth and sayeth that on the
21st day of October 1838 he was taken as a prisoner by the [people] called
Mormon from his [own] house, sick with the fever, and carried him about one
mile and released him, upon the account of his health. And while in custody
he ware told by them, they had applied to the Governor diverse of times for
pertection, and he never had sent them any assistance, and now they had
taken the law in their own hands, and they intended to have the thing settled;
because they believe the Governor to be as big a mob man as any of them, and
the [plunder] which they ware now taking was to pay them back for the property
which they had lost in Jackson County, when they were driven from there, and
the affiant sayeth not.
Jonathan J. Dryden
The above sworn and subscribed before me the 22nd day of this [instant].
James Stone after being duly sworn deposeth and sayeth, that on the 20th
day of October 1838 the people called Mormon came to his house, and told him
if he did not leave Daviess County against next morning, against sunrise,
that they would take his head with their sword, and drew their sword and
waved it at him, and said they would take his heart's blood if he did not
leave [the] county. And then this affiant took them at their word and left
his house about 10 O'Clock in the night, he and 2 other men, and went back
next morning and his house was robbed. And this affiant sayeth on the 21st
day inst. that he with several other men saw the said people called Mormon
herding a number of cattle, the amount not known, he supposed to be about
10 acres of ground covered. And they looked at them until they started them
towards Caldwell County, and this affiant sayeth not.
The above sworn to & subscribed before me 22nd day of this instant.
Adam Black J.P.
I, Thomas J. Martin, after being duly sworn do testify upon oath that whereas
I was returning from meeting on the 21st day of Oct 1838 in Livingston County,
I was intercepted and taken prisoner by the body of people called Mormons,
which presented their guns and told me that I had one of two things to do.
That was, to relate to them all that I knew concerning the [blank] their
munitions &c, or to be laid on the sod and let birds eat me. They also took
me about 12 miles during which time I saw them rummage the house of Mr. White.
I also saw them take 4 others, and they had some others that had been taken
before, some of which [they] took to Adam on deamon, and I have not [heard]
from them since. During the time I was a prisoner they told me that they did
not intend to let any man stay in Daviess County that was not friendly to
them. And that they were doing the same to redress the injury received in
Thomas J. Martin
The above sworn to and subcribed before me this 22nd day of October 1838.
Adam Black J.P.
Liberty Oct. 22nd 1838
To his Excellency the Commander in Chief
Sir, Almost every hour I receive information of outrage and violence; of
burning and plundering in the county of Daviess. It seems that the Mormons
have become desperate and act like mad men. They have burned a store in
Gallatin, they have burnt Millport; they have, it is said, plundered several
houses and have taken away the arms of diverse citizens of that county. A
cannon that was employed in the seige of De Witt in Carroll County, and taken
for a like purpose to Daviess County, has fallen into the hands of the Mormons.
It is also reported that the anti-Mormons have, when opportunity offered,
disarmed the Mormons and burnt several of their houses.
The great difficulty in settling this matter seems to me in not being able to
identify the offenders. I am convinced that nothing short of driving the
Mormons from Daviess County will satisfy the party opposed to them, and this
I have not the power to do as I conceive legally. There are no troops at this
time in Daviess County, nor do I deem it expedient to send any there. For I
am well convinced that it would but make matters worse for, Sir, I do not feel
disposed to disgrace myself, or permit the troops under my command to disgrace
this state, and themselves, by acting the part of a mob. If the Mormons are to
be drove from their homes, let it be done without any color of law and in
open defiance thereof. Let it be done by volunteers acting upon their own
However, I deem it my duty to submit these matters to the Commander in Chief,
and will conclude by saying it will be my greatest pleasure to execute any
orders your Excellency should think proper to give in this matter, with
promptness and to the very letter.
I have the honor to be your
Excellency's Most Obt Servt
David R. Atchison
Major Genl 3rd Divis M.M.
I herewith inclose you a report from Genl Park, also one from Capt Bogart.
Elkhorn, Oct 23rd 1838
Dear Sir, The Mormons have burnt Gallatin & Millport & have ravaged Daviess
County, driven out the citizens, burnt the Post Office, taken all kinds of
property from the citizens, have gone into Livingston County & taken the
cannon from the citizens there. They have threatened to burn Buncombe &
Elkhorn, & have been seen near & on the line between Ray & Caldwell, from
consequence of which I have ordered out my company to prevent, if possible,
any outrage on the County of Ray, & to range the line between Caldwell &
Ray, & await your order & further assistance. I will camp at Fields, 12
miles north of this tonight.
I learn that the people of Ray are going to take the law into their own hands
& put an end to the Mormon war.
In haste your obdt servt
P.S. Please be explicit in your express to me as to my course.
Oct. 23rd 1838
His Excellency the Governor of Missouri
The Mormon difficulties are arising and have arisen here to an alarming
height. It is said (and I believe truly) that they have recently robbed
and burned the store-house of Mr. J. Stollings in Gallatin, Daviess County,
and that they have burned several dwelling houses of the citizens of
Daviess, taken their arms from them, and have taken some provisions. Mormon
dissenters are daily flying to this county for refuge from the ferocity of
the prophet Jo Smith, who they say threatens the lives of all Mormons who
refuse to take up arms at his bidding, or to do his commands. Those dissenters
(and they are numerous) all confirm the reports concerning the Danite band
of which you have doubtless heard much, and say that Jo infuses into the minds
of his followers a spirit of insubordination to the laws of the land, telling
them that the Kingdom of the Lord is come which is superior to the institutions
of the earth, and encourages them to fight and promises them the spoils of
A respectable gentleman of my acquaintance from Livingston is here now who
informs me that the Mormons are robbing the citizens of Livingston, on the
borders of Caldwell, of their corn and whatever else they want; that they
have taken a cannon from Livingston County and are prowling about the country,
a regularly formed banditti.
That the prophet Jo Smith has persuaded his church that they are not, and
ought not to be, amenable to the laws of the land, and is still doing it I
have no doubt. The Danite band as I am informed by numbers of the most
respectable of the Mormons (who are now dissenters) binds them to support
the high council of the Mormon church, and one another in all things whether
right or wrong, and that even by false swearing. I have taken much pains to
be informed correctly about this Danite band, and am well satisfied that my
information as above stated is correct. I have no doubt but that Jo Smith is
as lawless and consumate a scoundrel as ever was the veiled prophet of
Chorassin. I believe the criminal law in Caldwell County cannot be enforced
upon a Mormon. Grand Juries there will not indict. Jo declares in his public
addresses that he can revolutionize the U.S. and that if provoked, he will
do it. This declaration has been heard by Col. Williams of this place, and
other gentlemen of equal veracity. I have hoped that the civil authorities
would prove sufficient for the exigency of the case, but I am now convinced
that it is not, so long as indictments have to be found by the jury of the
county in which the offense may be committed.
I do not pretend to have wisdom enough to make a suggestion as to what Your
Excellency should do. The evil is alarming beyond all doubt. I suggest the
foregoing facts for your consideration.
I am very respectfully
Yr Obt Servt
Th. C. Burch
P.S. Judge King will give you some information by the next mail.
T. C. B.
Richmond, Mo. Octr 23rd 1838
The Governor of the State of Missouri
The alarming state of Daviess County, and the panic produced by the late
movements of the Mormons in that county has produced a degree of excitement
and alarm here that has not been heretofore witnessed. The latest accounts
from Daviess County that has reached us, say that all the inhabitants of
Daviess County have left and sought refuge in Livingston or this county.
The store house of Jacob Stollings in Gallatin, Daviess County, was robbed
and burned by the Mormons, the Post Office kept there was also destroyed. And
we believe that the houses of 5 or 6 of the inhabitants of Daviess have been
destroyed by fire, the property taken away, and the women and children obliged
to flee. The arms of all the citizens in Daviess they could find have been
taken by them forcibly. They have also carried away the cannon from Livingston
County, and have it now in their possession.
The Mormons have robbed George Worthington, P.M. at Gallatin, of his notes &
property to the amount of nearly $2,000. In short, the news from them reach[es]
us hourly that they are destroying the property of the citizens they cannot
carry away, and all that they can carry away they take. Blood and plunder
appears to be their object. All those who do not join with them in their
incindiary conduct are banished from Caldwell, and all those of other counties
who are opposed to them are threatened. It is the desire of the citizens that
His Excellency would visit this section of country and call out a sufficient
number of troops to put a stop to the further ravages of these fanatics. If
some such measures are not taken shortly, the whole country will be overrun.
But we now firmly believe they are aggressors, and say they will indemnify
themselves for losses in Jackson and Carroll. We are not alarmists, and have
had no fears until lately, these fanatics would have dared to behave as they
have lately. There seems to be but one opinion here on the subject and that is,
unless a military force is brought in to act against them, and that shortly,
they will destroy as far as they are able. We think it our duty to advise you
of these things.
Your Obt Servts
James S. Beell
J. R. Doolittle
Jno C. Richardson
B. J. Brown, Sheriff of Ray County
M. P. Long
R. S. Mitchell
Lewis L. Jacobs
John N. Hughs
William Hudgins P.M.
We are deficient in arms. If there are any to spare, we wish them brought
We were informed last night by an express from Ray County that Capt Bogard
and all his company amounting to between fifty and sixty, were massacred by
the Mormons at Buckhorn, twelve miles north of Richmond, except three. This
statement you may rely on as being true, and last night they expected
Richmond to be laid in ashes this morning. We could distinctly hear cannon
and we know the Mormons have one in their possession. Richmond is about
twenty-five miles west of this place on a straight line. We know not the hour
or minute we will be laid in ashes. Our country is ruined, for God sake give
us assistance as quick as possible.
Octr 24th 1838
Being requested by a committee of the citizens of Ray County to make a
statement of such facts as are within my knowledge relative to the Mormons,
I have to say that I came to Far West the 17th April last and have lived
there ever since. I have never been a member of the Mormon church, but my
parents are. I am about the age of 18 years. I have lived at the house of
Sidney Rigdon the most of the time. I have heard the prophet Smith in public
address say he would like to have a play speel of the whole U.S. (in a fight
as I took it). This was on the election day last August. I have often heard
the Mormons say they would as soon shoot the dissenters that came out and
talked against them, as to shoot anything else. I have heard diverse Mormons
say that they burnt the store of Mr. Stolling in Daviess County. David W.
Patton had the command of the company that went to Gallatin. The Mormons say
that they did not burn the goods, but hauled them off. Said Patton went by
the name of Capt. Fearnot.
A few days ago I heard a company of Mormons who had been to Daviess County
say they had taken from the citizens of Daviess County about twenty-four
horses and thirty-two guns. And it was said by Mormons about there, that it
was done to make up for losses in Jackson County. When the company came up
who took the guns & horses, I heard Sidney Rigdon shout three times,
"Hosannah to the victors!" and made them a speech exhorting them not to
fear, & to keep up courage.
Oct. 24th 1838
Sworn to & subscribed before me on the day above written.
Henry Jacobs J.P. of Ray County.
Lexington, 6 O'Clock P.M.
October 24th 1838
This letter is sent after you on express by Mr. William Bryant of Ray
County. Since you left us this morning, Mr. C. R. Morehead came here on
express for men to assist in repelling a threatened attack upon Richmond
tonight. He brought news that the Mormon armed force had attacked Capt
Bogart this morning at daylight, and had cut off his whole company of 50
men. Since Mr. Morehead left Richmond, one of the company (Bogart's) had
come in and reported that there were ten of his comrades killed, and the
remainder were taken prisoners after many of them had been severely
wounded. He stated further that Richmond would be sacked and burned by the
Mormon Banditti tonight. Nothing can exceed the consternation which this
news gave rise to. The women and children are flying from Richmond in every
direction. A number of them have repaired to Lexington, amongst whom is Mrs.
Rees. We will have sent from this county, since 1 O'Clock this evening about
100 well-armed and daring men, perhaps the most effective that our county
can boast of. They will certainly give them (the Mormons) a warm reception
at Richmond tonight. You will see the necessity of hurrying on to the City
of Jefferson and also of imparting correct information to the public as
you go along.
My impression is that you had better send one of your number to Howard,
Cooper and Boone Counties, in order that volunteers may be getting ready and
flocking to the scene of trouble as fast as possible. They must make haste
and put a stop to the devastation which is menaced by these infuriated
fanatics. And they must go prepared, and with the full determination to
exterminate or expel them from the State en masse. Nothing but this can give
tranquillity to the public mind and reestablish the supremacy of the law.
There must be no further delaying with this question anywhere. The Mormons
must leave the State, or we will one and all. And to this complexion it
must come at last. We have great reliance upon your ability, direction and
fitness for the task you have undertaken, and have only time to say God
E. M. Ryland
Messrs Amos Rees & Willey Williams
At the request of a committee of the citizens of Ray County, I make the
following statement in relation to the recent movements, plans & intentions
of the Mormons in the counties of Caldwell & Daviess.
Shortly after the settlement of the difficulties at De Witt in Carroll
County, a call was made up by the Mormons at Far West in Caldwell County for
volunteers to go to Daviess County, to disperse the mob as they said. On
the day before this Joseph Smith the prophet in which he said that all the
Mormons who refused to take up arms, if necessary in difficulties with the
citizens, should be shot, or otherwise put to death. And as I was there with
my family I thought it most prudent to go, and did go with my wagon, as the
We marched to Adamondeoman and found no troops or mob in Daviess County.
Scouting parties frequently went out & brought in intelligence that they had
seen from three to five men. We got to Diamon on Tuesday evening, & on the
next day a company of about eighty of the Mormons, commanded by a man
fictictiously named Captain Fearnot, marched to Gallatin. They returned and
said they had run off from Gallatin twenty or thirty men and had taken
Gallatin, had taken one prisoner and another had joined the company. I
afterwards learned from the Mormons that they had burned Gallatin, and that
it was done by the aforesaid company that marched there. The Mormons informed
me that they had hauled away all the goods from the store in Gallatin, and
deposited them at the Bishop's storehouses at Adam on diahmon. On the same
day, Lyman Wight marched about eighty horsemen for Millport. He returned
before night and called for Joseph Smith & Hiram Smith to report to them
(said Hiram being counsellor of said Joseph the prophet) and said Wight
reported that he had been in sight of Millport, saw no one to fight, but that
the people generally had gone & left their houses & property. The prophet, on
hearing the property was left, commenced a reply & said "We had better see
to it." When Wight stopped him by saying "Never mind, we will have a private
counsel," and Smith replied "Very well." The private counsel I did not hear.
The men were dismissed to go to their camps.
The same evening a number of footmen came up from the direction of Millport,
laden with property which, I was informed, consisted of beds, clocks & other
household furniture. The same night, I think, about three wagons were
dispatched for about forty bee gums, and the next day saw several gums where
they were splitting them up & taking the honey & burning the gums, in which
business of taking out the honey, but few were engaged for fear, as they
said, they would be called on as witnesses against them. When Wight returned
from Millport & informed Smith that the people were gone & the property left,
Smith asked him if they had left any of the Negroes for them, & Wight replied
no. Upon which someone laughed and said to Smith, "You have lost your Negro,
During the same time, a company called the fur company was sent out to bring
in fat hogs & cattle, calling the hogs "bears" and the cattle "buffaloe."
They brought in at one time seven cattle and at another time, four or five
belonging to the people of Daviess. Hogs were brought in dead, but I know
not how many. I saw only two.
They have among them a company consisting of all that are considered true
Mormons, called the Danites, who have taken an oath to support the heads of
the church in all things that they say or do, whether right or wrong. Many,
however, of this band are much dissatisfied with this oath as being against
moral and religious principles. On Saturday last, I am informed by the Mormons,
they had a meeting at Far West at which they appointed a company of twelve,
by the name of the destruction company, for the purpose of burning &
destroying, and that if the people of Buncombe came to do mischief upon the
people of Caldwell & committed depredations on the Mormons, they were to burn
Buncombe & if the people of Clay & Ray made any movement against them, this
destroying company was to burn Liberty & Richmond. This burning was to be
done secretly by going as incendiaries. At the same meeting I was informed
they passed a decree that no Mormon dissenter should leave Caldwell County
alive, & that such as attempted to do it should be shot down & sent to tell
their tale in eternity. In a conversation between Doct. Avard & other
Mormons, said Avard proposed to start a pestilence among the gentiles, as
he called them, by poisoning their corn, fruit &c and saying it was the
work of the Lord. And said Avard advocated lying for the support of their
religion, & said it was no harm to lie for the Lord.
The plan of said Smith, the prophet, is to take the State, & he professes to
his people to intend taking the U.S. & ultimately the whole world. This is
the belief of the Church & my own opinion of the prophet's plans & intentions.
It is my opinion that neither said Joseph Smith, the prophet, nor any one of
the principal men who is firm in the faith could be indicted for any
offense in the county of Caldwell. The prophet inculcates the notion, & it
is believed by every true Mormon, that Smith's prophecies are superior to
the law of the land. I have heard the prophet say that he should yet tread
down his enemies & walk over their dead bodies; that if he was not let alone
he would be a second Mahamet to the generations, & that he would make it one
gore of blood from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic ocean. That like
Mahamet, whose motto in treating for peace was the Alcoran or the sword, so
should it be eventually with us - Jo Smith or the sword.
These last statements were made during the last summer. The number of armed
men at Adamondiamon was between three & four hundred.
Thomas B. Marsh
October the 24th 1838
Sworn & subscribed before me the day hereon written
Henry Jacobs, J.P., Ray County, Mo.
The most of the statements in the foregoing disclosed of Thomas B. Marsh I
know to be true. The remainder I believe to be true.
Richmond, Oct 24th 1838
Sworn to & subscribed before me on the day above written
Henry Jacobs, J.P.
The undersigned committee on the part of the citizens of Ray County have no
doubt but that Thomas B. Marsh & Orson Hyde, whose names are signed to the
foregoing certificates, have been members of the Mormon Church in full
fellowship until very recently when they voluntarily abandoned the Mormon
Church & faith. And that said Marsh was, at the time of his dissenting, the
President of the Twelve Apostles & President of the Church at Far West, and
that said Hyde was, at that time, one of the Twelve Apostles. And that they
left the church & abandoned the faith of the Mormons from a conviction of
their immorality & impiety.
Richmond, Oct 24th 1838
Thomas C. Burch
J. R. Hindley
C. R. Morehead
O. H. Learcey
Richmond, Oct 24th 1838
As Mr. Williams will be to see you in reference to our Mormon difficulties,
I will be able to say all to you perhaps that can be said. I deem it a duty
notwithstanding to give you such information as I have sought and obtained,
& is such I assure you may be relied on. Our relations with the Mormons are
such that I am perfectly satisfied that the arm of the civil authority is too
weak to give peace to the country. Until lately, I thought the Mormons were
disposed to act only on the defensive, but their recent conduct shows that
they are the aggressors & that they intend to take the law into their own
hands. Of their recent outrages in Daviess, you have doubtlessly heard much
already. Of their course of conduct in Daviess, I will give you the general
facts, for to give particulars would far transcend the contents of a letter.
On Sunday before they marched to Daviess, Jo Smith made known his views to
the people, and declared the time had come when they would avenge their own
wrongs, & that all who was not for them, & take up arms with them, should be
considered as against them, that their property should be confiscated and
their lives also be forfeited. With this declaration, & much else said by
Smith, calculated to excite the people present, the next day was set to meet
& see who was for them & who against them. And under such severe penalties
there was none, that I learn, who did not turn out, & about 3 or 400 men,
with Smith at their head, marched to Daviess. This was on Tuesday. The next
day was the snow storm, & on Thursday they commenced their ravages upon the
citizens, driving them from their houses & taking their property. Between 80
& 100 men went to Gallatin, pillaged houses & the store of Mr. Stollings and
the Post Office, & then burnt the houses. They carried off the spoils on
horseback & in wagons & now have them, I understand, in a storehouse near
their camp. Houses have been robbed of their contents: beds, clothing,
furniture &c & all deposited, & they term it a consecration to the Lord.
At this time there is not a citizen in Daviess except Mormons. Many have been
driven without warning. Others have been allowed a few hours to start. The
stock of the citizens have been seized upon, killed and salted up by hundreds.
From 50 to 100 waggons are now employed in hauling in the corn from the
They look for a force against them and are consequently preparing for a seige,
building block houses &c. They have lately organized themselves into a band
of what they call Danites, and sworn to support their leading men in all
they say & do, right or wrong, & further to put to instant death those who
will betray them. There is another band of twelve, called the Destructives,
whose duty it is to watch the movements of men & of communities, & to avenge
themselves for supposed wrongful movements against them by privately burning
houses, property, & even laying in ashes towns, &c.
I find I am running out my letter too much in detail. I do not deem it
necessary to give you a minute detail of all the facts of which I am possessed,
but I give you the above in order that you may form some idea of the disposition
of these people. The Mormons expect to settle the affair at the point of the
sword, & I am well warranted in saying to you that the people in this quarter
of the state look to you for that protection which they believe you will
afford when you have learned the facts. I do not pretend to advise your
course, nor make any suggestions other than what I have stated, that it is
utterly useless for the civil authorities to pretend to intercede. The
country is in great commotion and I can assure you that either with or
without authority, something will shortly have to be done. I hope you will
let me hear from you by the return of Mr. Williams, and if you should come
up [to] the country shortly, it will give me pleasure to take the trouble
to see you. I am very respectfully,
Austin A. King
At a very numerous public meeting held at the Court house in Richmond, Ray
County, on Wednesday this 24th day of October 1838 for the purpose of taking
into consideration the difficulties of the Mormons.
The object of the meeting having been explained by Thomas C. Burch, Esqr.
The following resolutions were unanimously adopted after reading the report
of Charles R. Morehead, William Thornton and Jacob Gudgel, which is hereunto
attached. To wit -
Resolved That the report here made by Charles R. Morehead, William Thornton
and Jacob Gudgel Esqrs be transmitted by express to the Governor of the State,
together with these resolutions.
Resolved That this meeting have the most implicit confidence in said report
as well from the known veracity of said Gentlemen, as from numerous other
facts and circumstances in our knowledge corroborating the same.
Resolved that in the opinion of this meeting the time has arrived when it is
the imperious duty of the executive by an armed force to quell the insurrection
put on foot by the Mormons, and that to effect the same the civil authorities
are wholly inadequate.
Resolved, That Wiley C. Williams and Amos Rees Esqrs be requested to visit
the Governor, and lay before him the proceedings of this meeting, and urge
upon him the necessity of ordering out forthwith an armed force against the
Mormons sufficient to meet the emergency.
Resolved, that we view with the utmost concern the conduct of the Mormons in
the counties of Daviess & Livingston, and that immediate action is necessary
for the protection of our property and homes from this lawless Banditti.
Resolved, that heretofore as citizens desiring to abide by the laws of the
land, we have been disposed to see this people called Mormons dealt with
for their offenses by the civil authorities, but that in the opinion of this
meeting, from their past and present lawless course, a resort to the laws
will be worse than useless and wholly insufficient to afford the country
that protection to which it is entitled.
Resolved, that we appeal to the Governor of this state to give the people of
upper Missouri protection from this fearful body of thieves and robbers.
Resolved, that it would at this time be inexpedient to take any offensive,
but that we should at present act on the defensive.
Resolved, that all who have in good faith renounced the Mormon religion
should be protected, either those in this county or in Caldwell during the
Resolved, that some men should now be raised to go to the northern border of
this county, and guard it from intrusion by the Mormons; to act entirely on
the defensive for the present; and that Genl Parks be requested to raise
three companies for that purpose, or that they be raised by volunteers.
The undersigned having on Monday morning last learned that the Mormons had
burned Millport in Daviess County in addition to the burning of Stollings
store in Gallatin in said county; and of their having threatened to burn
the store in Buncombe Settlement in this county; and feeling an anxiety to
know the truth in relation to said reports left this place, Richmond, on
that Monday morning & proceeded to Millport. They, however, previously
called at Judge Morin's who lives about 1/4 of a mile from Millport, who
informed those that all they had learned was substantially true, and that
much more had been done by the Mormons than the people of this county had
been informed of. He went with us to Millport where we found all the houses
in ashes, except a grocery store house belonging to a Mr. Slade and a house
in which Mr. Wilson McKinney had lived. We also found the house of Robert
Peniston, near Millport, burned. The horse-mill belonging to him (Peniston)
was taken down, the stones, bolting chest &c lying out some distance from
the shed, and the shed yet standing. Mr. Morin informed us that the burning
was done on Sunday night last, that on the next day he saw Mormons there and
saw them taking off beds and other things belonging to Wilson McKinney. We
also saw some furniture, which we understood from Mr. Morin belonged to
McKinney, standing out in the commons and which seemed to have been rifled
of its contents. Mr. Morin expected on the day we were there that the Mormons
would be there (at Millport) to move off the remaining property and to burn
the balance of the houses. He stated to us that he considered the situation
a precarious one, that he had been permitted to stay this long owing to
having no wagons to move with, but that he expected to get wagons that day &
intended moving into Richmond immediately. He said that the county was
entirely deserted by the inhabitants except himself and a few others besides
the Mormons, and expressed it as his belief that the corn from his house to
Diamon would all be gathered and hauled into Diamon by the Mormons in 48 hours
from that time. He also stated to us that he was at Diamon a few days
previously, and saw a company of men (Mormons) come into camp with a drove
of cattle, amounting to about 100 head, which he supposed belonged to other
citizens. He also saw a man in possession of a Mormon which he was very
certain belonged to Wm Morgan, a citizen of Daviess County. Mr. Morin looked
upon these Mormons whe were then a Diamon (amounting he supposed to about
600 men) as a band of robbers and desparadoes. He advised us very strongly
to go no farther, not to attempt to go to Diamon or Far West. That we would
gather nothing by doing so, in addition to which we there learned that the
county on the north side of Grand River and west of him was certainly
deserted except by the Mormons, and had been for several days. That the houses
were all burned, or to use his own words, that it was a complete waste.
Mr. Morin also informed us that the Mormons had ordered the other citizens
out of the county, and that he too had been ordered to leave. He appeared
very anxious that we should not be seen at his house by any Mormon, that it
should not be known that he had given any information or expressed anything
unfavorable towards them, until he get away. We did not visit Gallatin, but
understood from Mr. Morin and others, whom we met moving into this county,
that all the houses in that place were burned except a Shoemaker's shop
belonging to a Mr. Borwell.
Richmond, Mo. Wednesday October 24th 1838
C. R. Morehead
25th Octr 1838
Maj Genl John B. Clark
We write you a hasty letter from this point to give you authentic information
as to the appalling situation of this country in the neighborhood of the
Mormons. We are on our way as expresses to the Governor concerning the
following information: that these wretched fanatics have thrown off all
restraint and are destroying all before them. They have burned Gallatin, the
county seat of Daviess, taken the goods from J. Stallings' store and burned
the house. They have burned the village of Millport in Daviess and have
burned almost every house from Gallatin and Millport north with many others
in other parts of the county, and plundered the whole county of the property
of the inhabitants. They say themselves that they have taken $30,000 worth
of property. We have this moment received an express informing us that they
this morning at daylight attacked Capt Bogard's company of 50 men with 300
Mormons and defeated him, killing some ten men, wounding many others and
taking the most of the remainder prisoners. Many of the Mormons having been
killed in the fight as is supposed. We have but little hope from these
wretched desperadoes but that they will kill all these prisoners. This
attack was made in Ray County. Capt Bogard had been stationed on the northern
line of the county to patrol and guard it, the Mormons having threatened to
invade that county. They have determined to attack and burn Richmond tonight
and we have but little doubt but that they will attempt it. The women and
children have all left Richmond and are leaving the county, flying for
protection to Livingston and elsewhere. These creatures will never stop
until they are stopped by the strong hand of force! And something must be
done, and that speedily. There is no kind of doubt but that all the alarm,
with much more that I have not time to write, is true and you may act
Wiley C. Williams
Head Quarters of the Militia
City of Jefferson
Oct. 27, 1838
Since the order of [********] morning to you, directing you to call 400
mounted men to be raised within your division, I have received by Amos Rees
Esqr of Ray, & Wiley C. Williams Esqr, one of my Aides, information of the
most appalling character which entirely changes the face of things and shows
the Mormons in the attitude of an open and armed defiance of the law, and of
having made war upon the people of this state. Your orders are therefore to
hasten your operations with all possible speed. The Mormons must be treated
as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state if necessary
for the public peace. Their outrages are beyond all description. If you can
increases your forces you are authorized to do so to any extent you may
consider necessary. I have just issued orders to Major Genl Willock of Marion
Co. to raise 500 men and to march them to the northern part of Daviess and
there unite with Genl Doniphan of Clay, who has been ordered with 500 men to
proceed to the same point for the purpose of intercepting the retreat of the
Mormons to the north. They have been directed to communicate with you by
express. You can also communicate with him if you find it necessary. Instead,
therefore, of proceeding as at first directed to reinstate the citizens of
Daviess in their homes, you will proceed immediately to Richmond and there
operate against the Mormons. Brig Genl Parks of Ray has been ordered to have
four hundred of his Brigade in readiness to join you at Richmond. The whole
force will be placed under your command.
I am very respectfully
Yr Obt St
Lilburn W. Boggs
Com in Chief
To Genl John B. Clark
Fayette Ho. Co.
Richmond, Oct. 28th 1838
Head Quarters of the 3rd & 4th Div. M.M.
To the Commander in Chief of the Militia
From late outrages committed by the Mormons, civil war is inevitable. They
have set the laws of the country at defiance, & are in open rebellion. We
have about two thousand men under arms to keep them in check. The presence
of the Commander in Chief is deemed absolutely necessary, and we most
respectfully urge that your Excellency be at the seat of war, as soon as
Your most obedient servants
David R. Atchison, M. G. 3rd Div.
Saml D. Lucas, Maj Genl 4th Div.
Chariton, 30th Oct 1838
His Excellency Gov. Boggs,
Sir, I have ordered one thousand men from this Divis., and now have five
hundred this far under march, and five hundred from the Second Brigade will
join me today at Keytesville from whence I will proceed to Richmond without
delay. Your two orders were both received on day before yesterday at the same
time. On this moment I received per Capt. Long the enclosed express from
Genl Atchison and Lucas then at Richmond; it was met by Col Williams, your
Aide, and opened and sent to me, supposing that the powers conferred on me
were sufficient. This may be so, but I would give your Excellency my decided
opinion, that it would be best for you to be there, and hope you will if
In the meantime, I will endeavor to act out your orders in letter and spirit,
however great the responsibility. I have this moment dispatched to Genls
Atchison & Lucas a copy of your two orders to me, with instructions to act
for the best, until I can arrive.
All the additional information that I have from the scene of disturbance is
worse and worse.
I have the honor to be
Yr. Obt Servt
John B. Clark
Major Genl Comd
10 O'clock A.M.
Camp Chariton, Oct 30th 1838
Majr Genl Lucas & Atchison
I am now here with near one thousand men under a force march to Richmond in
performance of an order from the Commander in Chief, copies of which are
herewith enclosed to you for the use only of your confidants. You will discover
by them the power vested in me and for that purpose I enclose them to you.
Capt Long this moment arrived with an express from you to the Govr which had
been wet and opened by Col Williams, one of the Govr Aides, and sent to me.
I have forwarded it to the Govr.
Act with your respective commands for the best according to circumstances
until I arrive, when some plan of action will be settled upon if the Gov
should not come. I will reach Richmond as soon as I can.
Capt. Long returns with this to you and Mr. Fristo goes on to the Govr.
John B. Clark, Major Genl
1st Div M.M.
City of Jefferson, 1st Nov. 1838
To Major Genl Jno B. Clark
Sir: Your communication by express of Oct 30th, enclosing one from Major
Generals Atchison & Lucas of the 28th Oct. have been recd. It is impossible
for me to leave here, the near approach of the meeting of the Legislature
rendors it necessary that every moment of my time be employed in preparation
to meet them. It was considered by me that full and ample powers were vested
in you to carry into effect my former orders. The case is now a very plain
one, the Mormons must be subdued and peace restored to the community. You
will therefore proceed without delay to execute the former orders; full
confidence is reposed in your ability to do so. Your force will be amply
sufficient to accomplish the object. Should you need the aid of artillery,
I would suggest that an application be made to the Commanding Officer of Ft.
Leavenworth for such as you may need. You are authorized to request the use
of it in the name of the State of Missouri. My presence there could affect
nothing, I therefore again repeat that you are authorized and full power is
given to you to take whatever steps you deem necessary and such as the
circumstances of the case may deem it to demand, to subdue the insurgents
and give peace and quiet to the country. The ringleaders of this rebellion
should be made an example of, and if it should become necessary for the public
peace, the Mormons should be exterminated or expelled from the State.
In order that no difficulty may arise in relation to the command, I must
inform you that neither Generals Atchison or Lucas have been called into
service under this late order, except Genl Lucas was directed to raise 400
men in his Division and to place them under the command of a Brigadier General.
The privilege was offered him of commanding the troops from his own Division,
though subject to your orders. All the troops now under arms and those that
may arrive at the seat of war are placed under your command.
You will report to me by express and keep me regularly informed of anything
of importance which may occur. The near approach of winter requires that
your operations should be hastened. After having restored quiet, you will
cause the people of Daviess County who have been driven from their homes to
I am respectfully
Your obdt svt
L. W. Boggs
Com. in Chief
Camp near Carrollton, Midnight
Novr 1st 1838
Genls Atchison & Lucas
[ ] while at Chariton [ ] that you
were at Richmond and was only holding the Mormons at check until further
orders which you sought from the Commander in Chief. And having before then
received orders from the Commander in Chief with plenary powers to settle
this whole difficulty and call to my aid such force as I might deem necessary,
a copy of which I sent you by express per Capt. Long, but learning at this
place that you have proceeded to Far West and hearing a report (not official)
that some of the Mormons have already surrendered to you. Therefore, under my
orders, and in pursuance of the only and proper power assigned me, I send
you respectively the following orders (viz): you are to remain at some secure
position in the vicinity of Far West, protecting the citizens & their property
from the aggressions of the Mormons until I arrive with my force, which will
be by tomorrow night, amounting to two thousand. But you are not to make any
attack or operate offensively until I arrive, where the plan of adjustment
suggested by the Commander in Chief and proposed by myself, will be communicated.
You must take steps if you have not and if it be necessary to provision your
forces by foraging or otherwise. If you have any prisoners, you will make no
truce with them by which they are to be discharged until my arrival, but
preserve them from injury as prisoners. The Govr, I have learned this evening,
is on his way up and will join us perhaps tomorrow.
I will be able to reach Far West in three more days. If Genl Willock has
arrived at the place he was ordered, you will direct him and also Genl
Doniphan to remain there until my arrival for further orders observing their
original orders to prevent the retreat of the Mormons to the north.
The express leaves immediately and I cannot be more specific. You will both
report to me immediately your Head Quarters, strength and position and such
other matters as tend to further the service in which we are engaged. My
express Messrs Scott, Turner & Enyart you will furnish with such necessaries
as they may need and much oblige me.
I have the honor
to be your Obt Servt
John B. Clark, Major Genl
1st Div M.M.
Camp near Far West
Nov 2nd 1838
His Exc. L. W. Boggs,
Comd in Chief, M,M.
Sir, On morning 29th Oct. the troops ordered out by Maj. Genl Atchison &
myself (as per our report to you of said date) took up their line of march
from camp near Richmond for Far West. We encamped the night of the 29th at
Linville Creek, a short distance from the road, about sixteen miles from
Far West, at which point we received an express from Brig. Genl Doniphan
informing us that he was encamped on Log Creek with a force of 500 men, and
that he would join us at the crossing of said creek on the road from Richmond
to Far West by 10 O'clock A.M. The next morning on 30th Oct. the troops got
together at the late named point, when we mustered about 1800 men. Whilst at
this place we received your orders of 26th ult. and I received an order of
27th ult. & a letter from you of the same date. At this point Maj. Genl Atchison
left me for Liberty, when I was left in sole command. Before leaving Line
Creek I received information that a band of Mormons 200 in number, called
Danites, had been seen about two hours previous near the route that we had
passed. Upon receiving this intelligence I ordered a detachment of two
companies from the respective commands of Brig. Genl Wilson, Doniphan, Parks
& Graham to go in pursuit of said band, which I placed under the command of Genl
Wilson with instructions to intercept, and if possible to cut off their
retreat to Far West. I then took up my line of march for Goose Creek, one mile
south of Far West, which point we reached about one hour by sun in the evening.
Just as the troops were encamping, I received intelligence from Genl Doniphan,
from his position on the right, that he had discovered a party of Mormons
approaching Far West from the east, and requested permission to intercept
them if possible. Leave was granted, & his Brig. started off at nearly full
speed to accomplish the order, but the Mormons succeeded in reaching the fort.
Genl Doniphan approached within 200 yards of their fortress when they displayed
a force of about 800 men. At this juncture I ordered Genl Graham, Brig
[ ] holding, Genl Parks & part of Genl Wilson's mounted, in reserve, to
march full speed to the relief of the 1st Brig. 3rd Div. But from the inequality
of the force of the 1st detachment (being only 250 strong at the time) & the
Mormons, it was considered prudent to withdraw the troops & march against them
in the morning. Which was accordingly done, and they all returned, as dark set
in, to camp. At this place I established my Head Quarters & continued there
during the expedition against the Mormons. The detachment under Genl Wilson
returned about 9 O'clock P.M. The next morning, 31st Oct, I received a message
from Col. Hinckle, the commander of the Mormon forces, requesting an
interview with me on an eminence near Far West, which he would designate by
hoisting a white flag. I sent him word that I would meet him at 2 O'clock P.M.,
being so much engaged in receiving & encamping of fresh troops who were hourly
coming in, that I could not attend before. Accordingly, at that time I started
with my staff officers and Brig. Genls Wilson, Doniphan & Graham, Genl Parks
being left in command. We met him and some other Mormons at the point before
mentioned. He stated that his object in asking me to meet him there was to
know if there could not be some compromise or settlement of the difficulty
without a resort to arms. After giving him to understand the nature of your
orders, I made him the following propositions, which I furnished him a copy
of, and a copy of your order, viz:
1st: To give up their leaders to be tried & punished.
2nd: To make an appropriation of their property, all who had taken up arms
to its payment of their debt and indemnity for damage done by them.
3rd: That the balance should leave the State, & be protected out by the militia,
but to be permitted to remain under protection until further orders were
received from the Commander in Chief.
4th: To give up their arms of every description, to be receipted for.
Col Hinckle agreed to the proposition readily, but wished to postpone the
matter until morning. I then told him that I would require Jos Smith Jr.,
Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight, Parley Pratt and Geo. W. Robinson as hostages
for his faithful compliance with the terms, and would pledge myself and each
one of the officers present that in case he, after reflecting and consulting
upon the propositions during the night, declined acceding to them, that the
hostages would be returned to him in the morning, at the same point they were
received. But it was understood that in case they did comply, they were to
be held for trial as part of the leaders called for by 1st stipulation. I
then gave him until one hour by sun in the evening to produce and deliver them.
We then returned to camp, & I directed the troops to make preparations to
march to Far West by an hour & a half by sun, with a determination, in case
the hostages were not produced, to make an attack upon the town forthwith.
I directed Genl Parks' Brigade to be mounted, & to form on the right of the
Division, to act as flankers if necessary and, if required, to pass entirely
around the town and form on the north side with instructions to make the
attack at the report of the cannon, which was to be the signal for the general
attack. Genl Graham's Brigade was mounted & formed on the extreme left to act
as flankers and, if required, to form the line on the west side with similar
instructions as to the commencement of the attack.
Genl Doniphan's Brig. was ordered to parade on foot and to form on the left
of Genl Parks, with instructions to form on the East side, with similar
orders relative to attack. Genl Wilson's Brig. was ordered to parade on foot
and to form on the left of Genl Doniphan, with instructions to form the line
of battle on the South side, with same instructions as to commencement of
The artillery company, with one piece of ordnance, was placed at the head of
Genl Doniphan & Genl Wilson's Brigades with instructions to occupy an eminence
within 300 yards of the town.
The army being disposed of in this manner, at the appointed time I took up
the line of march in the direction of Far West. When the troops got within
about 600 yards I discovered the flag, and the hostages advancing. I
immediately halted the army and rode out and met them, received the hostages
and placed a guard over them for their safety and protection, and ordered the
force back to our encampment. I cannot forbear at this point expressing my
gratification and approbation of the good conduct & gallant bravery evinced
by all the officers and men under my command. They marched up with as much
determination and deliberation as old veterans, not knowing but that the
charge would be sounded every moment for surrounding the town. There was no
noise [nor even passion/fusion] - nothing but an eager anxiety upon the
countenance of every man to get at the work. When the hostages were received,
the troops, with some slight exceptions, marched back in profound silence.
1st Novr I ordered the whole forces amounting to 2500 men to parade at 9
O'clock A.M. & to take up the line of march for Far West, and 1/2 past 9
O'clock to receive the prisoners & their arms. The troops marched out & formed
in the prairie about 200 yards east of the town. Genl Wilson's Brig. formed
the west line, Genl Doniphan's the east line, Genl Graham's & Genl Parks' the
south line with the artillery company and the cannon in the center of the two
latter, leaving one side of the space open.
The Mormon army, reduced to about 600 men by desertion and otherwise, under
their commander Col Hinckle, marched out of their town, through the space into
our square, formed a hollow square and grounded their arms. Col. Hinckle then
rode forward & delivered up to me his sword & pistols. I then directed a
company from the respective Brigades to form a front, rear, and right & left
flank guards, & to march the prisoners back to Far West, & protect & take
charge of them until the next morning. I then detailed a company from Genl
Doniphan's command to take charge of the arms. Then, in order to gratify the
army, & to let the Mormons see our forces, marched around the town & through
the principal street, & back to Headquarters. Considering the war at an end
in this place, I issued orders for Genl Doniphan's Brigade, with the exception
of one company, & Genl Graham's Brig. to take up their line of march for their
respective Head Quarters, & dismiss their men. And directed Genl Wilson to take
charge of the prisoners (demanded for trial) & arms & march them to my Head
Quarters at Independence to await further orders, & to dismiss all except a
guard for the prisoners & arms.
2nd Nov: I relieved the guard placed over the prisoners at Far West by 4
companies of Genl Parks' Brig. and placed them under the command of Col.
Thompson's 2nd Brigd 3rd Div. with instructions to report to Genl Clark.
The balance of Genl Parks' Brigade, with Capt. Gilliam's company of Genl
Doniphan's Brigade under the command of Genl Parks, I ordered to Adam on
Diamon, a Mormon town in Daviess County, with instructions to disarm the
Mormon forces at that place and to leave a guard of 50 men for the protection
of prisoners, & to report to Genl Clark. In order to carry the treaty &
stipulations into effect, I have requested your Aide-de-Camp Col. Williams,
together with Col. Burch & Major J. Reese of Ray, to attend to drawing up
all the papers legally, & directed Col. Thompson to wait on them with a
portion of his command, & to cause all their orders & requirements consistent
with the stipulations to be carried into effect.
This day about 12 O'clock there was a Battalion of 100 men from Platte arrived
at Far West, which I ordered back, having understood that Major Genl. Clark
would be in in a day or two with a sufficient force to operate in Daviess &
Livingston, & for any service that may be required.
I have the honor to be
Saml D. Lucas
Head Quarters of the Forces
Against the Mormons
Richmond, Nov 2nd 1838
Genl Samuel D. Lucas
Major Genl 4th Div M.M.
Sir: I have heretofore directed you to report to me of your movements in your
operations against the Mormons, but you have not done so or even sent me a
line, except a pencil scrawl accidently found in the Bar Room of the Tavern
at Richmond. I know nothing officially of what has been done, and shall therefore
move on to Far West. You are ordered to have all the prisoners and arms taken
from the Mormons to be brought forthwith to this place and the prisoners put
in the Richmond jail and guarded, and the arms put in some secure place and
guarded also. And you are also ordered to discharge your forces except a
sufficient guard for the arms and prisoners as above. You will then repair in
person to my camp between here and Daviess County with your [unit ] and
also communicate to me a complete report in detail of what you have done in
this expedition. These orders I make under order to me from the Govr.
I have the Honor
to be your Obt Svt
John B. Clark
Head quarters of all the forces
against the Mormons
Far West, Nov 4th 1838
Brig. Genl Parks
Sir: I received your communication of this day per express and can only
say you are right in obeying the orders of Genl Lucas although they were
not without authority so far as he was concerned. You have, I suppose,
taken the whole of the men of the Mormons prisoners. If not, you will do
so and place such a guard around them and the town as well to protect the
prisoners and to secure them until they can be dealt with properly. Also,
the property must be protected from plunder and waste as far as practicable.
In relation to the property of the citizens, you will give notice that as
soon as I get things settled here I will repair to that place with a
sufficient force to place the citizens back in their homes, and then all
their property that can be found will be delivered up to them. And also the
best means adopted to have them paid for the damage they have sustained, till
which time, to wit, my arrival, all their property as well as the Mormons'
must be held in custody. This is done in order that justice may be done in
its distribution. All the citizens who have been moved can now move back with
perfect safety, as my forces will not be discharged until they who choose to
If you think 60 men or one company enough without doubt to leave at that place
to secure the prisoners and afford protection &c, you are at liberty to do as
you suggested. But you must select a company in whom you can confide to
execute your order and charge them to be strict that no outrages are committed.
Prisoners must be protected. If you move your forces here, all but one company,
you had better do so immediately. I will wait here until you have time to
come before I make any further orders about Adam.
I am, Sir, yr Obt Svt
John B. Clark
Maj Genl Comg
Independence, Mo. 5th Novr 1838
His Exc. L. W. Boggs
Commd in Chief
Sir: I returned on yesterday with the troops of the 1st Brig. 4th Divis. M.M.
We got to Goose Creek in the vicinity of Far West on 30th ult. and the next
day the town surrendered to us under the following conditions and stipulations,
1st To give up their leaders to be tried & punished.
2nd To make an appropriation of their property, all who had taken up arms, to
the payment of their debts, and indemnity for damage done by them.
3rd That the balance should leave the state and be protected out by the
Militia, but to be permitted to remain until further orders from the Commander
4th To give up their arms of every description, to be receipted for.
We took about 600 prisoners and rec'd something like that number of arms.
In disbanding my command, I ordered Genl Wilson to take charge of the leaders
who I had demanded for trial, viz, Jo Smith, Sidney Rigdon, Lyman Wight,
Amos Lyman, Geo. W. Robinson, Parley Pratt, Hyram Smith, together with the
arms, and march them to my Headquarters at Independence to await your further
orders. On 3rd of Novr, when at Williams Ferry, Missouri River, I received a
letter from Major Genl Clark, by express, ordering me to march the prisoners
and arms to Richmond, to discharge my forces, and repair myself with my
staff to his camp wherever I could find it between Richmond and Daviess County.
This order I did not comply with, as I could not under any circumstances be
commanded by a Junior Major Genl. I was thrown into the field by a call from
Brig. Genl Parks there in the field. Which, according to military ettiquette
and usage is equivalent to an order. And from your order to Genl Clark, he is
only authorized to command Brigadier Generals, but can make a call on Major
Genl's for any force that he may think necessary.
I received a copy of your orders to him, and I intend to start the prisoners
and arms to Richmond in the morning when the whole will be subject to his
Your orders of 26th & 27th ult. together with your letter to me of latter
date was only rec'd by express on 30th ult. within 6 or 7 miles of Far West.
At this point Major Gen'l Atchison left me and returned home to Liberty. I
was then left in the sole com'd of about 1,800 men, which I marched that
night to Goose Creek, within one mile of Far West. By sun-down the next day
my forces were increased to 2500 men. With an army of this magnitude I could
not think of lying idle and inactive.
I will make out a fair report and send it to you by next mail. We were
looking for you every day, for the last 4 or 5 days, or I would have sent an
express to you from Far West. A communication I received from Gen'l Clark 1st
Novr stated that he had learned you was on your way up, and would arrive in a
day or two. Learning that Gen'l Clark was on his march with an army of 2000
men, I concluded that he would have force sufficient to operate in Daviess
and Livingston Counties, and to make a final close without the co-operation of
my troops. I deemed it proper in order to save the state an enormous expense,
which each day was immensely heavy, to discharge my forces which was accordingly
done, with the exception of four companies left at Far West, and five companies
under Gen'l Parks, sent to Daviess County. I left your aid, Col. Williams,
Col. Burch and Major Reese of Regt at Far West drawing up all the necessary
papers, and Col. Hinkle and myself appointed 5th Comd, viz: Wm Collins of
Jackson, G. W. Woodward of Ray, Judge Cameron of Clay and John Corrill and
M. Phelps of Far West.
The Mormons are to convey their property in trust to those comd's for the benefit
of creditors and for indemnifying those that have been damaged by them. This
arrangement gave satisfaction to the whole army and was the means of saving
a great many valuable lives, and the effusion of immense bloodshed.
I have the honor to be with
Saml D. Lucas
Major Genl 4th Divis M.M.
P.S. I sent Genl Clark a copy of my report to you, as soon as I had it made
City of Jefferson
6 Nov 1838
Jno B. Clark
Commanding the forces
against the Mormons
Sir: I have the honour to acknowledge the receipt of your communication under
the date of the 3rd inst, dated at Richmond, by the express Mr. G. D. Maupin.
I regret very much to hear that Genl Lucas has been guilty of disobedience
of orders; on the subject, however, I shall cause in due time an inquiry to
be made. I thought I had been so very explicit in my orders, that it was not
possible to misunderstand them. You have placed the proper construction upon
them, which was that the whole force to be employed in this service was to
be placed under your command. General Lucas was not ordered out at all, except
in the way I mentioned to you in my last communication. He was directed to
cause four hundred men of his division to be raised, and place them under the
command of a Brigadier Genl with the privilege, if he thought proper, to waive
his rank as Major Genl and take Brigadier General's command.
General Atchison was not ordered out in this last affair for two reasons: one
was that I was aware as a member of the Legislature he would have other duties
to attend to, and another was that there was much dissatisfaction manifested
towards him by the people opposed to the Mormons. He, though, under our militia
law, has a right within the limits of his command to order out his troops to
quell insurrection or repel invasion. Genl Lucas, though, could not exercise
any command within Genl Atchison's division only so far as he may have been
directed by the Commander in Chief, and that only extended to the command of
In pursuance of the orders which I forwarded by Mr. Black, the
express from Daviess County, whose companion Mr. Dryden bore my first orders
to you. I therefore approve of the course you have taken in demanding the
prisoners of Genl Lucas, as well as the arms, and shall send to him instructions
to deliver them over to your order in the way you have directed him. You will
see that they are securely confined within the limits of some prison and
strongly guarded. The course you have proposed taking in relation to the other
prisoners, that is to hold an Examining Court, and cause all those deemed
guilty to be confined and guarded, is the correct one.
You will proceed to Diamon and there disperse all the persons you may find
embodied and under arms without authority of law. In the meantime, attachment
from your command can, if it is deemed necessary, be employed to reinstate
the people of Daviess in their homes. It will also be necessary that you hold
a Military Court of inquiry in Daviess County and arrest the Mormons who have
been guilty of the late outrages committed towards the inhabitants of said
county. My instructions to you are to settle this whole matter completely if
possible before you disband your forces. If the Mormons are disposed voluntarily
to leave the state, of course it would be advisable for you to promote that
object in any way deemed proper. The ringleaders of this rebellion, though,
ought by no means permitted to escape the punishment they merit.
The troops from Col. Gasconade and Franklin are directed to report to you.
You had perhaps better return them in service and discharge them who from
fatigue or otherwise may be disposed to return.
I would be pleased to hear from you of the final result of this matter, previous
to the meeting of the Legislature. I shall forward to Genl Lucas by Express
the necessary orders and instructions to obey the orders you have directed to
him, under date of the 3rd inst. in relation to the arms and prisoners.
I have to request of you to embody all the facts you can collect in relation
to the commencement of progress, and termination of the recent difficulties
with the Mormons, in order that I may communicate same to the Legislature.
I am respectfully
Yr Obt St
L. W. Boggs
Com. in Chief
P.S. The prisoners will of course be delivered over to the civil authority,
when you may deem it prudent to do so.
Nov 7th 1838
Brigadier Genl Robt. Wilson will take up the line of march with his Brigade
this morning for Adam on diamon in Daviess County and take possession of the
prisoners at that place and proceed to ascertain those who committed crimes.
And when done to put them under close guard. And when he moves, take them to
Keytesville after having them recognized by the proper authority. He will then
endeavor to restore the citizens of Daviess to their homes. After things have
been restored as far as may be he will march for home and discharge his force
and report to me. I send a copy of the orders of the Govr to me, which are
transferred to him, all things for that particular service to do all things
which you may deem necessary under said order.
John B. Clark
Major Genl Comg
Independence, Novr 7th 1838
His Exc L. W. Boggs
Comd in Chief
Sir: I recd from Genl Clark last night, per the hands of Col Price, a copy
of your orders of the 1st Novr in which you state that neither Genls Atchison
& Lucas was called or ordered into the field by you. If your orders had of
reached me before I got into the field, I would not have went, but I know
nothing of the call for men or of the arrangements for giving the command to
Genl Clark, but acted as I have before informed you. Upon a call from Brig.
Genl Parks, then in the field (which, according to military usage & ettiquette
is equivalent to an order) for assistance, he represented things in such a
manner (which your Excellency has been apprised of by Col. Williams and Major
Rees) that I believed I had no alternative but to act as I did. I have no
disposition to thwart either your designs or Genl Clark's plans in going into
the field, but after I got there with an army of 2500 men I could not consistently
lie idle or inactive.
For the result of my proceedings, I refer you to my report sent herewith. I
did not make any report to Genl Clark because I did not believe it proper to
do so consistent with my grade of office.
I am very Respectfully
yr Obt Servt
S. D. Lucas
Major Genl 4th Divis. M.M.
P.S. If your Excellency should deem it proper, you can cause Genl Clark to
be furnished with a copy of the above.
Head Quarters of the Militia
Employed against the Mormons
Richmond Novr 10th 1838
His Excellency L. W. Boggs
Sir, A day or two before I received your first order, I had upon information
from a letter from Mr. Rees and Col. Williams on their way to you, issued an
order to have raised in my Division one thousand men ready to march on
Monday the 29th day of October last, all of which I communicated to you by
express, the one however conveying my communication met one from your Excellency
On the 29th according to my order the first Brigade rendezvous at Fayette proposed
to march, and did on that evening take up the line of march and reached
Chariton on that evening. At Chariton I recd an express from Messrs. Atchison
and Lucas to you, which I forwarded and then I dispatched an order to Genls
Atchison & Lucas with a copy of your several orders to me, all of which you
have been informed of by me. The next day, October 30th we reached Keytesville
where we met the 2nd Brigade, commanded by Genl Robert Wilson who had been
ordered to join me at that place. The next morning October 31st I organized
the two Brigades into a Division, officered the same and took up the line of
march for Richmond. We made forced marches until we reached Richmond. On the
day we reached Carrollton, Novr 2nd I heard a report that Genl Lucas had
invested Far West and effected a capitulation, the arms of which I sent you
from here on my way out. I then sent another express to Genl Lucas to hold
fast to all he had (supposing he had the prisoners and arms) until I arrived,
to make no final capitulation or treaty until I did arrive, when I would
communicate to him my plans for settling the difficulty, and also requesting
him to report to me forthwith his acts, strengths &c. The express was directed
to bring back to me at Richmond any communication the Genl might desire to make.
The next day I reached Crooked River in the neighborhood of Richmond. At this
place I learned that Genl Lucas had disbanded his forces, and marched the
prisoners to Independence. I immediately sent an express to intercept him,
with orders to march the prisoners and arms back to Richmond for the reasons
contained in my letter to you from Richmond.
I continued my march to Far West where I arrived on Sunday the 4th. When I
reached there I encamped in the vicinity of town. At night I went into town
with all my Field Officers & commenced ferreting out the guilty amongst the
Mormons who were there. This business employed my time for two days and nights.
After I had obtained all the information I could by disclosures from the
dissenters from Jo the prophet (and there are not a few at this time) I
caused the whole of the Mormons to be paraded, and took out of their ranks
such of those I conceived guilty as could be found, and put them into a room.
A deep snow falling on this evening, and there being no chance to obtain fuel
or provender, I was compelled to march back to Richmond with the prisoners,
forty-six in number. I however, the day before I left Far West dispatched
Lt. Col. Price from the Second Brigade to Richmond with two companies to
receive the prisoners and arms, but on his arrival not finding them there,
he went to Genl Lucas at Independence and informed him of his mission. The
Genl then sent them and they reached here on last evening.
On the day I left Far West, I ordered Genl Wilson with his Brigade (except
the two companies with Col. Price), to Adam Ondo Ahmon, a town in Daviess
which had a few days since surrendered & given up their arms, with instructions
to take possession of the town and disarm all the Mormons, and act in that
quarter in accordance to your instructions to me, a copy of which was
He was also instructed to take out from the mass of Mormons such as probably
could be convicted of crime, and have them committed and then carry them to
Keytesville, and have them placed in jail and guarded, but he was instructed
not to leave that quarter until he had reinstated the citizens in their
property and homes as far as practicable, and if necessary leave a small force
there to protect the citizens.
I also ordered Capt Comstock with his company in Livingston to continue there,
disarming the Mormons where-ever found, and report to Genl Wilson at Diamon
for further orders.
This being done, I proposed to march back to Richmond. The morning before I
left Far West I called the whole of the Mormons together, about five hundred
(a great number having run away between the surrender and my arrival) and
informed them that the prisoners I had, together with those taken by Genl
Lucas, would be taken to Richmond, tried, and punished if found guilty. That
they must comply with the terms of the capitulation with Genl Lucas.
The situation of their women and children, and the inclemency of the weather,
induced me to modify the terms, and not require them to remove forthwith. That
they could remain until their convenience suited them in the Spring. That no
military guard would go with them, but I would pledge the honor of the State,
they should not be hurt, and that their arms should be given up to them
whenever they left the State, and not before. This they readily agreed to,
so far as I could judge from their expressions.
This being done, I took up the line of march with the prisoners, and got here
on yesterday. On my arrival here I discharged the whole of the first Brigade.
I will here state that on my way to Far West, while at Richmond, I wrote to
Genl Grant and ordered him to countermarch and discharge his forces. The same
order I sent to Genl Willock from Far West, also Genl Crowster's Division
was discharged at Richmond on their way, except the Boonville guards who were
taken on to Far West and discharged here this morning. Genl White, learning of
the state of affairs, left his men at the River near Livingston and came on
to meet me with his staff at Far West. I then ordered him to countermarch
his Brigade, except the cavalry commanded by Capt Parsons, which company is
now here guarding the prisoners.
All the forces in this quarter are now discharged, except two companies
commanded by Capt Parsons and Capt Bogard. I detained Lieut. Col. Price to
superintend the guard of the prisoners, and I also detained Genl White and
his field officers here a day or two for the purpose of holding a Court Martial
if necessary. I this day made out charges against the prisoners and called on
Judge King to try them as a committing court, and I am now busily engaged in
procuring witnesses and submitting facts. There being no civil offices in
Caldwell, I have to use the military to get witnesses from there which I do
Genl Wilson's Brigade is still in service in Daviess County, under the instructions
above stated. They will be discharged as fast as possible.
The most of the prisoners here I consider guilty of Treason, and I believe
will be convicted, and the only difficulty in law is, can they be tried in
any county but Caldwell. If not, they cannot be there indicted until a change
of population. In the event the latter view is taken by the civil courts, I
suggest the propriety of trying Jo Smith and those leaders taken by Genl Lucas,
by a Court Martial for mutiny. This I am in favor of only as a dernier resort.
I would have taken this course with Smith at any rate, but it seems doubtful
whether a Court Martial has jurisdiction or not in the present case, that is,
whether these people are to be treated as in time of war, & would here ask
you to forward to me the Attorney General's opinion on this point. My whole
object is to obey your orders & settle this matter so as to have the best
effect upon the people, & at the same time not compromise the character of
the State. But it will not do to allow these leaders to return to their
treasonable work again on account of their not being indicted in Caldwell.
I find by inquiry that with all the enormities we have heard charged against
these people, many of which charges we looked upon as the offspring of prejudice
on the part of our citizens, the truth has not yet been told. There is no
crime from treason down to the most petty larceny but these people, or a
majority of them have been guilty of. All, too, under the counsel of Joseph
Smith Jr, the prophet. They have committed treason, murder, arson, burglary,
robbery and larceny, and perjury. They have societies formed under the most
revolting covenants in form, & the most horrid oaths to circumvent the law &
put them at defiance, & to plunder & burn & murder & divide the spoils for
the use of the Church. This is what they call the Danite Club or Society.
These facts I gather from some persons I have who have disclosed: Under this
horrid system, many of the citizens of Daviess County, who went to that frontier
poor, & who by their industry & economy had acquired a good living, have been
robbed of every article of property they have - their houses burnt before their
eyes, & them & their wives & children driven out of the country, without any
kind of shelter. In one instance, I have been informed that a family was
ordered off & their house burnt in their light & a woman driven out while
it was snowing, with a child only four days old. In another case, I was
informed a family was driven away & the woman was compelled to ask protection
in a few miles, where she was delivered of a child in a short time after.
These, sir, are some of the offenses of these people. I do not wonder at the
prejudices against them in their vicinity.
I send you enclosed a copy of a Constitution of one of their societies from
which you can gather some information. I design to continue my head Quarters
here, until the investigation of the cases of the prisoners are closed. You
shall be informed from time to time of the progress, as also of the movements
in Daviess. Those facts I now communicate to you, supposing they would be
useful to you before the meeting of the Legislature. Your communication of the
6th was received today by Mr. Maupin. Its contents were duly noted & shall be
attended to. I have this evening informed the prisoners of what is charged
against them and ordered the leaders to be bound, so as to [ ] to save
I am, Sir, your obt Servt
John B. Clark
Independence, 11th Novr 1838
His Excellency L. W. Boggs
Comr in Chief, M.M.
Sir: Your communication of 6th Nov. 1838 through B. M. Lisle, Adj. Genl, has
just been received. The prisoners have been sent to Richmond, subject to the
order of Genl Clark, & the arms will be sent as soon as the weather will permit.
I have also furnished Genl Clark a copy of my report to you, all of which
proceedings have been transmitted to you by mail, but which I presume did not
reach previous to the date of your orders.
I have the honor to be yr
most obdt servt
Saml D. Lucas
Maj. Genl 4th D. M.M.
P.S. I refer you to my report & two other communications since my return from
Far West, for further particulars as to the prisoners & arms.
Col. S. V. Noland, one of your Aide-de-Camps who accompanied the expedition
under my command, will leave this evening for Jefferson City & will communicate
further on this subject.
Sl D. Lucas
Maj. Gen 4th Div
P.S. The first communication received from Genl Clark was under date 30th Oct
in which he directs Genl Atchison & myself to act as we think best according
to circumstances. This letter was received either on the day or the day before
the surrender, by Capt. Long, one of the persons Genl Atchison & myself had
started to you with our report. The 2nd communication from Genl Clark was
dated 1st Nov. In this, he directs us to remain in some secure position, &
not to make any attack until he arrived. This, together with the 3rd communication,
(the one you sent a copy of in your communication per Mr. Dorriss) was only
received at Williams Ferry, Missouri River, two days after I had disbanded
the army, as per my report to you of the 2nd Nov.
I never had any idea of trying any of the prisoners by a Court Martial, but
only ordered them to my Head Quarters to await your further orders.
S. D. Lucas
Maj. Genl 4th Div. M.M.
Head Quarters 2nd Brigade 1 D, M.M.
Adam-on-Diahmon Nov 12, 1838
Maj. Genl Clark:
Sir, In pursuance of your order of the 7th at Far West, I took up the line
of march with my command & arrived here on the 8th. We suffered much from
the inclemency of the weather, which still continues.
On my arrival here I found the troops had left. I met Col. Burges some two
miles from this place, he being the last. I immediately placed a guard around
the town & ordered the Mormons to parade, which order was promptly obeyed,
and about two hundred men entered their names. I then proceeded to the
investigation as you required by your order, Justices Black & other citizens
being present. I caused such of the Mormons as were supposed to be guilty of
crimes arrested, and handed them over to the civil authorities for trial. It
however appears that the most guilty had previously escaped, they having ample
opportunity as I am informed the town had not been under guard up to the time
of our arrival. The investigation is still progressing but with but little hope
of effecting much, as the citizens seem to be unable to identify but few.
It is perfectly impossible for me to convey to you anything like the awful
state of things which exist here. Language is inadequate to the task. The
citizens of a whole county first plundered, & then their houses & other
buildings burnt to ashes. Without houses, beds, furniture or even clothing in
many instances to meet the inclemency of the weather. I confess that my
feelings have been shocked with the gross brutality of these Mormons, who
have acted more like demons from the infernal regions than human beings.
Under these circumstances you will readily perceive that it would be perfectly
impossible for me to protect the Mormons against the just indignation of
the citizens. I therefore promptly informed the Mormons in a short address of
all the facts that had then come to my knowledge - told them I should remain
in Daviess County ten days, & would endeavor to protect them during that time.
At the end of the ten days I would leave, and was not authorized to promise
them further protection in Daviess County - that you had promised protection
in Caldwell County - that such of them as wished to remove to Caldwell, or
out of the state, I would give a permit to state that effect & would guarantee
their safety on the route. The Mormons themselves appeared pleased with the
idea of getting away from their enemies & a justly insulted people, and I
believe all have applied to receive permits to leave the county. And I suppose
about fifty families have left & othrs are hourly leaving, & at the end of
the ten days, Mormons will not be known in Daviess County.
This appears to me to [be] the only course left to prevent a general massacre
and I hope my course in this matter may meet your approbation, as it has been
your pleasure to commit to my charge a most important command without special
instructions. I feel the more bound not only to return you my sincere thanks
for the honor thus done, but to give you a full account of all my acts. Nothing
has been left undone on my part to justify that confidence.
The citizens of Daviess have cooperated heartily with me & to their praise be
it said, have shown a degree of compassion & charity, unparalleled under the
circumstances, to their enemies, & have cheerfully obeyed every order I have
found it proper to give in this matter & now confidently believe I shall be
able to close this most shocking insurrection without further bloodshed.
I had previously to receiving your order discharged all the troops under my
command, except one company under Capt. Norbold. This company will be retained
until I close my business here. I expect, without otherwise ordered, to remain
here until tomorrow week & then set out for home. If therefore it is your
pleasure to give me further orders before leaving, I would suggest that they
be forwarded in time to reach here before that time.
It would astonish you to see the immense piles of stolen property which has
been brought in & deposited by the Mormons, consisting of almost everything
to be found at a farm house, & much remaining yet concealed. Large quantities
have been found buried in & near town. I have been making all possible exertions
to collect & preserve this property for the owners, but I find it hard to do
as these dirty thieves are more skillful in the pilfering line than any I
have yet seen. The citizens inform me that much of their property has been to
Far West. I suggest that you order them to return them here at their own
I write in a miserable shanty called the Lord's Store House, late at night
after having been well soaked in the rain during the day, & much fatigued.
I may have omitted some things, but when I am more comfortable I will write
you more fully.
I have the honor to be with unsignal [ ] good will
Your Obt Servt
R. Wilson, Brig. Genl
[ ] 2nd Brig. M.M.
City of Jefferson
Nov 12, 1838
Major Genl D. Willock
I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the 10th
inst. from Hartville. From information received from Genl Clark, who was
placed in command of all the troops raised in pursuance of the late order of
the Executive, there will not be any necessity for your proceeding any further.
You will therefore return your troops and discharge them. The Quarter Master
of your detachment will purchase and grant certificates to the person of whom
he purchases, for such provisions as you may need. You will, however, [
] out with as small a quantity as possible.
You will please present my thanks to the troops under your command for their
promptness in marching to the call of their country.
L. W. Boggs, Com
Head Quarters, Richmond
Nov 14th 1838
His Exc Gov Boggs -
Sir: In my last communication I informed you of all the important incidents
of the expedition up to that time. On Tuesday last we commenced the examination
of the alleged crimes, being treason, murder, burglary, arson & larceny against
Jo Smith and his co-leaders & about forty six others who occupy less a space
amongst their people, but many of whom are equally guilty. The defendants
have employed Messrs. Rees and Doniphan to defend them, who are both present.
The enquiry, as you may well imagine, takes a very extensive range and
involves many important legal principles not often adverted to in our own
practice, & being as I consider too important to be made out against the
prisoners I, at the suggestion of Mr. Burch, the Circuit Attorney, spoke to
Col. W. T. Wood to assist in the prosecution, promising him to lay the matter
before your excellency, not doubting but what some provisions would be made by
which he would have paid to him a reasonable fee. This was not done because I
doubted Mr. Burch's ability in the least, for he is a good lawyer, and entering
into this matter with his whole energy, but there are so many points [starred]
& so much labor to arrange the facts, so as to make them bear on the various
defendants that I did not wonder he should ask assistance. And for the good of
the state I spoke to Col. Wood as above stated, & he very willingly engaged
with Mr. Burch.
We progress slowly, but thus far the disclosures indicate certain conviction
of treason against Smith, Wight, Pratt, Rigdon & some one or two more, and of
murder against some five or six. Burglary against several, arson against a
number & larceny against others. How it will all result I cannot yet tell,
but that the leaders will all be convicted of treason or murder I think is
reasonably certain, & many others of felony. You shall be informed as we
I received this evening a communication from Genl Wilson, who had been
dispatched to Daviess County, a copy of which I enclose you, from which you
will discover that things are becoming as well settled there as can be under
the circumstances, though they & I would have been much better settled if
your orders had been complied with before my arrival. It seems to me if proper
steps had been taken to save the active leaders, they could all have been
captured. The protection Genl Wilson alludes to my giving the Mormons in Caldwell
I explained to you in my last communication.
I regret exceedingly to learn that any acts of yours should create any heart
burnings or collision with your Excellency and any General officer, and
particularly to such an extent as I understand exists with Genl Atchison.
Your motives doubtless were good, your orders were undoubtedly right as to
the Mormons, and my command and I have no doubt the whole country will sustain
Business of a very urgent nature compels me to leave here on tomorrow for
Fayette, where I will arrive on Sunday, leaving Lt. Col. Price, a competent
officer, here until my return. I will only remain in Fayette until Tuesday or
Wednesday next, & then I shall return here to remain until this whole prosecution
is settled or put in such a condition that a military force is unnecessary.
It is thought that the investigation will last for two or three weeks.
I am, sir, your obt servt
John B. Clark
Maj. Genl, Commg
Richmond, Nov 23, 1838
Understanding that Maj Genl Clark is about to return with the whole of his
command from the scene of difficulty, we avail ourselves of this occasion
to state that we were present when the Mormons surrendered to Major Genl
Lucas at Far West and remained there until Major Genl Clark arrived. And we
are happy to have this opportunity as well as the satisfaction of stating
that the course of him and his troops while at Far West was of the most
respectful kind and obliging character towards the said Mormons. And that the
destitute among that people are much indebted to him for sustenance during
The modification of the terms upon which the Mormons surrendered, by permitting
them to remain until they could safely go in the spring was also an act that
gave general satisfaction to the Mormons. We have no hesitation in saying
that the course taken by Genl Clark with the Mormons was necessary for the
public peace, and that the Mormons are generally satisfied with his course.
We feel duty bound to say that the conduct of the Genl, his staff officers
and troops was highly honorable as soldiers and citizens so far as our
knowledge intends, and we have heard of nothing derogatory to the dignity of
the state in the treatment of the prisoners.
W. W. Phelps
G. M. Hinckle
Keytesville, Nov 25th 1838
Sir - In performance of your order dated at Far West Nov 7th, I marched with
the troops under my command for Adam Onde Ohman in the County of Daviess
where I arrived on the 8th. Immediately after my arrival I had called together
all the Mormons then residing in Daviess County and distinctly informed them
of the nature of the order of the Commander in Chief, and that you had
transferred the same to the undersigned to be executed in the County of
Daviess. I also informed them that they would be permitted to remain in
Daviess County during the winter or that they, at their option, should be
permitted peacably to remove themselves and property to Caldwell County if
they desired so to do. That I would remain ten days with a sufficient force
for their protection, and that I would give to such as desired it a written
permit to remove to Caldwell or out of the state. So soon as this was made
known to them, they unanimously made application and received the permit
above alluded to. And in the course of ten days all the Mormons residing at
that point, with a few exceptions, had removed in peace and safety. I would
here give it as my opinion that, owing to the hostility these people had
produced against themselves by their excesses and depredations upon the
property and lives of the citizens, would not have been permitted to remain
there in safety, and of this the Mormons seemed to be well satisfied.
I found the greater portion of these people to be late immigrants to this
place from Canada and the northern parts of the United States, encamped
mostly in tents and provided with provisions for the winter. I was told upon
inquiry that the prisoners had not been guarded since their surrender and
that such as knew they could be identified by the citizens had mostly absconded.
Such of the Mormons that could be identified were placed on trial before a
justice of the peace.
The Mormons have done immense injury to the citizens of this county, first by
robbing them of all their movable property and then burning their houses. A
part of this property was found at Adam Ondi Ahman, but the greater portion is
still missing. The people of Daviess County, during my stay among them,
conducted themselves toward the Mormons with great propriety and even generosity.
I am fully satisfied for myself that no people having any claims to honesty
would permit such a band of robbers, as these Mormons have proved themselves
to be, to reside among them. It is useless for me here to recapitulate the
evidence upon which this opinion is founded, as you must be fully in possession
of the same from the inquiry now going on forward at Richmond.
I have great pleasure in being able to certify to you of the good conduct of
the troops under my command. Both officers and privates discharged their duty
to my entire satisfaction and without a murmur. So far as I am informed no
Mormon was injured in person or property by any person under my command.
Finding the civil authorities of Daviess County in a situation to discharge
all the duties required of them by law, I referred all matters in dispute in
relation to property between citizens and Mormons, under the belief that an
exercise of military authority under the circumstances would have been improper.
The extent of the injury sustained by the citizens would not be fully ascertained,
but so far as my observation and information extended, the whole county is
laid waste and I fear many will suffer during the winter. It is impossible [to]
witness these scenes of distress without feeling the deepest indignation
against the leaders of these people who under the sacred name of religion
have caused their followers to commit the most horrid crimes ever perpitrated
in any country, and that too, as they allege, for the advancement of the
Kingdom of Christ.
The troops under my command have all returned home and I am this far on the
route subject to your further order.
I have the honor to be
with great respect
Robert Wilson Brg Genl
2nd Bat 1st Div M.M.
Senate Chamber Nov 28th 1838
Dear Sir: In answer to your note of this morning requesting me to give you
such information as was in my knowledge relative to the battle fought on the
30th October at the Mills on Shoal Creek between the citizens and Mormons.
I will state that the company I belonged to was stationed in the rear as a
reserve at a distance of about 40 yards of the line of battle. As soon as the
line of battle was formed and before all the troops in the line had dismounted,
the fire commenced (by the Mormons as I was told by those in front). The
position I occupied prevented me from seeing the commencement. As soon as
firing commenced, the company I belonged to dismounted and run in the line in
front. When I got sight of the position of the Mormons, they were all in the
house or under the bank of the creek and the smoke of their guns from both
places appeared to me to be continual. Our men took a few fires at a crack
in the house when I heard the order to charge the house which order was
promptly obeyed. The men run to the house. As we approached it I saw one man
have out his gun in front of me. I stepped to one side & the man in front of
me squatted down and pitched under the muzzle, lay still until the gun fired.
He then rose and as the Mormon drew back his gun, our man shoved his gun in
the house & fired. By this time our men got possession of all the port holes,
cracks &c and kept up such a constant fire that the Mormons could not get
their guns out to shoot. They then broke out of the house and run towards the
creek, but many fell in their flight. About that time I heard the cry of
Quarters among our own men. I recollect distinctly of hearing one of our own
men say (they called for quarters). I then hallowed Quarters! Quarters! as loud
as I could which was echoed by all around me. The firing then ceased on our
parts at which time a volley came from the creek. I then thought they had
heard us calling for Quarters and thought we were whipped. The firing then
renewed on our part and continued as long as there was any Mormon in sight,
except the wounded. After the battle was near a close, I saw some of the Mormons
that had reached the top of the hill south of the creek, about 300 yards from
us, stopped, turned around and shot back at us and then run on.
After the battle had subsided I saw some of our men carry our wounded man
into a house and laid him on a bed. The men in counting the dead found one
man in the house not hurt who had fallen down in the early part of the action
and was covered with the slain. I saw him and talked with him the moment he
was taken prisoner. Those who counted the dead said 31 was killed of the
Mormons and seven of our men was wounded. We then got a waggon and horses and
such of our wounded as was unable to ride was put in the waggon and we left
The above is an outline of that affair as my recollection serves me.
To Genl J. B. Clark
Nov 14th 1838
The Governor of the State of Missouri -
....There was at Far West about five hundred Mormons, several hundred having
run off with their unit before my arrival, and at Adam on Diamon about one
hundred and fifty or two hundred, making in all about twelve hundred armed
men all together, as well as I can ascertain. There is now collected in the
hands of my Quarter Master, and I presume Genl Lucas, about seven hundred guns,
a great many pistols, swords and spears, but I have not now in my possession
any means to ascertain the exact numbers. But they have been receipted for
and will be reported in due time by the proper officer.
Before I left Far West I had the Mormons called together and addressed them
in substance that they have capitulated with Genl Lucas and made their own
agreement, and they would be expected to comply, and must comply, but that
they would not be expected to go until their convenience in the spring. That
no military guard would go with them, that none was necessary as I would pledge
the honour of the State they should not be hurt. That their arms should then
be given up to them. I did not see what else I could do under the circumstances
without setting at naught what had been done by Genl Lucas, which I thought
would have produced another difficulty with these people of perhaps more
danger than the one that was then settled.
....These people had, as you will perceive, united themselves together in
Societies, the object of which was to first drive from their society such as
refused to join them in their unholy purposes, and then to plunder the
surrounding country and ultimately to subject the State to their will. They
have committed great injury to the country by burning, robbing. These things,
however, their leaders say was done to punish the citizens of our State for
past violence to them in other places...They have murdered, robbed, stole
and burnt and committed many inhumane acts on helpless families. I have no
doubt but what we have many citizens who have very much mistreated these
people, but never to such as extent as to create the idea in a rational mind,
who loved his country, that the Government ought to be subverted and the laws
put at defiance.
The whole number of Mormons killed through the whole difficulty, as far as I
can ascertain, are about forty and several wounded. There has been one citizen
killed and about fifteen badly wounded. I give it as my decided opinion that
much more blood would have been shed than this if there had been only troops
enough ordered out by your Excellency to conquer the insurgents [
]. Their influence [ ] them into submission to the first
troops that appeared before them. This I am authorized to say by intelligent
...not any of the forces after I arrived at Far West committed any violence
either upon the property or persons of the Mormons of either sex; any
statement or insinuation to the contrary is false and is slander upon my
command and our citizens. I am led to make this statement, your Excellency,
on account of pictures I have seen in some of the public journals of the
country about the troops generally, and consequently embracing my command.
I cannot vouch for the troops before my arrival but I do afterwards, and in
justice to the officers commanding before, I will state that I believe that
great injustice has been done them also. I have the testimony of the most
intelligent Mormons on this subject, which I attach. It is humiliating to the
militia, who are citizens generally of high order, to see the public journals
of the country publishing every report that is put out without knowing whether
it be true or false for the purpose of casting reproach upon our arms our
country. I make this statement to rescue my command from such [insurrective] censure which I know to be false as far as they are concerned, and
leave other General officers having the command before my arrival to act as
they please in the premises.
I have not been able to satisfy myself as well as I would upon the causes of
this difficulty, but enough is shown by the evidence I here attact to enable
the country to appreciate your prompt movement in ordering out the Militia to
put down an insurrection of no ordinary character. It had for its object
dominion, the ultimate subjugation of this State and the union...
Much has been said to the prejudice of those engaged in the battle at Hauns
mill. Not having received before my departure from Richmond an official
account of that battle from the officer commanding. Since my arrival here I
addressed a note to Maj Ashby, a senator from Chariton who was there, for
information. His answer is here appurtenent and marked, to which I refer you.
I would inform your Excellency that I have been informed by Mormons that there
are now about one hundred persons, the wives of those who were killed and run
off, who are destitute and depend on their friends for support.
I do not know how many of the prisoners will be committed, not having read
the evidence in defense. When I left Richmond, I obtained copies of all the
evidence that had been given in that I could procure, and engaged a gentleman
to copy the balance on both sides & forward it to me at this place by each
Having now submitted to your Excellency the course taken by me under your
several orders in every material step, as well as such information as I
possess, permit me to assure your Excellency that I entered on my duties with
fearful apprehensions that my experience and ability to command had been
exaggerated by you, and it would have given me pleasure if such an important
trust involving so much had been committed to other, more competent hands.
But in the discharge of my duty I have endeavored to comply with your orders
as I understood and construed them, making the restoration and preservation
of the public peace the great object to be attained. All which I respectfully
submit to your Excellency, hoping that my acts may be satisfactory to you and
yours to the Country.
I am, Sir, with consideration
of high respect your
John B. Clark
Major Genl Com